Super 25 countdown: Glenbard WestGlen Ellyn. 8/23/10. Glenbard West football practice. Linemen-Jordan Walsh and Tommy Schutt. (Photo by Herb Shenkin for The Sun)
Updated: August 23, 2011 11:46AM
Glenbard West has been on quite a run the last few football seasons, going 35-4 since 2008, and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.
The Hilltoppers’ current junior class went unbeaten at the freshman and sophomore levels — and that was with five sophomores playing on the varsity last season. And, as coach Chad Hetlet pointed out, the Class of 2012 players are no slouches, either.
‘‘Our senior class has turned out well with Tommy [Schutt] and Johnny [Caspers], and Justice [Odom] has turned into a great quarterback,’’ said Hetlet, whose team is No. 3 in the Sun-Times’ preseason Super 25.
Schutt, a 6-3, 295-pound defensive end ranked No. 1 among Illinois seniors by Rivals.com, has committed to Penn State. Caspers (6-3, 270), the anchor of the offensive line at a guard spot, has scholarship offers from Arizona and several Mid-American Conference schools. And Odom, who transferred from Wheaton Warrenville South last year, looks like a good fit to replace graduated senior Mike Matthew.
Odom won’t have to shoulder all of the offensive load by himself, though.
‘‘We’re going to pound the ball like we have in the past,’’ Schutt said.
‘‘We have a stable of running backs,’’ Hetlet said, referring to seniors Avery Balogh and Kendall Johnson, along with junior Joe Zito.
They’ll be running behind a line led by bookend guards Caspers and Nick Garland, a 6-2, 220-pound senior.
Schutt also will get some offensive reps, presenting quite a matchup problem for opposing defenses.
‘‘He played tight end a decent amount for us last year,’’ Hetlet said. ‘‘Tommy has the best hands on our team. When he was a freshman, he was a running back and a receiver.’’
But Schutt’s main role again will be to lead a defense that held nine opponents to 16 points or fewer last season.
That was one of many strengths for a Glenbard West team that went 10-2 and reached the Class 7A quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champ WW South. One thing the Hilltoppers would like to change is to avoid injuries that may have kept them from being even better last year.
‘‘We were banged up — we had some lingering injuries,’’ Schutt said. ‘‘We made some changes with what we’re doing physically to hopefully keep our bodies a little healthier.’’
The Hilltoppers will get a quick idea of how good they are when they meet WW South on Sunday in a season opener that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
‘‘It’s a good carrot to dangle, to play Wheaton South the first game of the season,’’ Hetlet said. ‘‘I respect the heck out of coach [Ron] Muhitch. We want to be where they’re at.’’